Essay about Writing Assignment 1

Submitted By chatfie2
Words: 1596
Pages: 7

Clay Hatfield
ECO 3203-003
Yongmin Zang
Writing Assignment 1
Being a Better Consumer, Darden Restaurants, and Income Inequality It is no secret that being a better consumer will improve your quality of life. One can see that there is absolutely no inverse relationship between the two. Despite the widening gap of income inequality between the affluent and underprivileged there are still many decisions the underprivileged consumers can make to create a better quality of life. On the epicurean side of one’s lifestyle there is a widening gap in Americans favorite restaurants like the ones owned by Darden Restaurants. Over the past few years the United States has been coming out of the largest recession in decades, albeit slowly, and did not begin the first quarter of 2014 impressively with GDP revisions down 2.9%. This can be attributed to the Federal Reserve continuously devaluing the dollar and largely contributes to income inequality between classes in the United States. Darden Restaurants are best known for middle class favorites like Olive Garden and Red Lobster also upper scale restaurants such as Capital Grille and Longhorn Steakhouse. This income inequality is evident when looking at the earnings report for the restaurants frequented by middle income customers declining and the higher end restaurants seeing positive growth. Regardless of the widening income gap and the rising prices in some of Americas favorite restaurants, the key ways one can become a better consumer is budgeting, buying stocks, using credit cards, and even taking advantage of deals and coupons offered in many forms. If the GDP deflator would have used more realistic variables such as food they would have seen a steeper decline of 4% rather than 2.9% in the first quarter of 2014 and would be able to see the inflation of food prices for what it actually is. One of the ways a good consumer can get around this steep economic decline is by budgeting. Reckless spending among consumers is one of the reasons the economy got in the recession in the first place with not being able to afford the mortgages they requested. Budgeting can reduce the risk of worsening our financial situations while also making us all better consumers. A way we can do this, but also contributed do Darden’s worsening financial situation, is by limiting how much you eat out. One can do this by maybe just going out on the weekends or waiting until certain promotions come out for restaurant favorites. One place that is certainly not contributing to “better promotions” is Olive Garden, trying to pull back on one of their fan favorite foods. All you can eat breadsticks has always been a staple with Olive Garden but with decreasing revenue, there is a call for that staple to be pulled. It is obvious that if you remove one of the largest incentives to eat there (i.e. free food) you will not bring in customers looking for a fair deal with prices inflating. To be fair Olive Garden and other Darden Restaurants offer monthly and seasonal deals that promote to the budget friendly class of people. These restaurants of Darden are the more budget friendly than other sister restaurants of Darden that restrict consumers utility. These high end Darden restaurants (Longhorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille) have been raising their prices and have still seen an increase in profit. While the middle class is being forced to budget their spending on eating out due to these inflating prices, the upper class has still been able to use their disposable income to dine out. An additional way to be a better consumer and to improve one’s utility is to take advantage of credit cards. Credit cards can be a slippery slope into financial demise, however becoming a better consumer is aided by taking advantage of these financial tools. There are many cards out there and many different benefits of using each one. Certain cards offer cash back rewards and certain percentages of cash back in the